THE BLOG

17
Oct

prayers of the people – proper 25 year a

These prayers are based on Psalm 90:1-6 & 13-17, the psalm which is properly appointed for Proper 25, Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary. On this site there is also,
• a reflection on the Hebrew Bible Lesson for the same day, and
• a reflection on the Gospel Lesson for the same day, and

Celebrant   Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another, and it is to you that we bow the knee of our heart and offer our prayers.

Intercessor  Before the mountains were brought forth, from age to age you are God; we pray for the Church, it’s leaders, and people, that as your servants we may do your works.
Lord, you are our refuge.

A thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past; we pray for the nations of the world that there may be justice and peace for all your children.
Lord, you are our refuge.

Before the land and the earth were born, from age to age you are God; we pray for our nation, for those who lead us, for those who protect us, and all who dwell within our borders.
Lord, you are our refuge.

While we fade away like the grass, you, O Lord, are God forevermore; we pray for the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, and the downtrodden; and we pray for those who are sick or in distress of any kind, especially ______. Be with them, and give them your blessing.
Lord, you are our refuge.

We pray, O Lord, for those who have passed from this life, into the fulness of your Presence; be gracious with your servants, and bathe them in your light.
Lord, you are our refuge.

Officiant  May your graciousness, O LORD our God, be upon us; prosper the work of our hands, our handiwork, and our faithfulness to you and your ways. Amen.

13
Oct

love in an outward direction – a reflection on Matthew 22:34-46

angels

Cupid and Psyche at the MMA. 18th Century, Antonio Canova. Photo by Rick Morley.

The following is a reflection on Matthew 22:34-46, the Gospel lesson appointed for October 23rd, 2011 according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. (Proper 25, Year A) On this site there is also
• a reflection on the Hebrew Bible Lesson for the same day, and
• a version of the Prayers of the People, based on the lessons of the day.

Twice in Jesus’ ministry we find the odd confluence of lawyers coming to test Jesus, and the commandments to love God and neighbor.

In Luke 10, a lawyer approaches Jesus, asking him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus turns the question back on the lawyer, and the stunned lawyer spurted out the commands to love God with everything you are, and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said, “do this and you shall live.”

In Matthew and Mark we find a lawyer coming to test Jesus, asking him “What is the greatest commandment,” and Jesus gives the answer of love.Continue Reading..

12
Oct

remembering Moses – a reflection on deuteronomy 34:1-12

Moses

Moses with the Tablets, from France ca. 1170, in the Medieval collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Rick Morley

The following is a reflection on Deuteronomy 34:1-12, the Hebrew Bible lesson appointed for October 23rd, 2011 according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. (Proper 25, Year A) On this site there is also
• a reflection on the Gospel Lesson for the same day, and
• a version of the Prayers of the People, based on the lessons of the day.

When someone great dies–someone whose life altered the lives of countless others, and who changed the course of history in some way–we remember them. Sometimes we pause to mourn, sometimes we lay flowers or mementos in certain places, often times we tell stories about how they impacted us on a personal level.

We’ve done that most recently with the death of Steve Jobs. I have to say, when I saw that he had died (via Twitter, on my iPhone), I gasped. Wanting more information I ran downstairs to grab my iPad. I marveled that people were leaving flowers and mementos at Apple stores around the country.

What really struck me was the confluence of his death and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here were myriad Americans loudly challenging corporate America on one hand, AND mourning a corporate CEO on the other. Would anyone mourn the death of a Bank CEO, or the chief executive of some other multinational in an even remotely similar way? Hardly.

What set Mr. Jobs apart from other CEO’s, was the way that he, and his vision, personally effected so many people on an intimate level. We remember our first iPod. Our first iPhone. And, even if we don’t own iStuff, it was his ideas and technology which made other platforms possible.

His vision and life effects us on a daily basis. Every time we pick up a phone, check our Facebook, or open a folder on our desktop (remember your desktop?), we have Steve Jobs and his vision to thank.

Moses didn’t invent the graphic interface or multitouch swiping (he was a fan of the “tablet,” though…), but he brought his people, the People of God, from the dark time of slavery to the land flowing with milk and honey. A land to call their own.Continue Reading..

10
Oct

prayers of the people – proper 24, year a

The following prayers are based largely on Psalm 99; the psalm properly appointed for proper 24, year A, according to the Revised Common Lectionary. The refrain is based on the words of Moses to the Lord in Exodus 33, also assigned for this day.
• Also on this site is a reflection on the Hebrew Bible Lesson for the same day, and
• a reflection on the Gospel Lesson for the same day.

Permission is granted to use, or amend, these prayers for use in Christian worship. If users took a moment to comment in the field below and let us know who/ where your community is, it warms my heart!

Officiant LORD you are King; you are enthroned upon the cherubim; and it is to you that we pray and make known the intentions of our hearts.

Intercessor In the days of old, Moses and Aaron were among your priests, and Samuel among those who call upon your Name, O Lord. We pray for the Church of today, for it’s leaders, and all your people.
Show us your glory, Lord.

LORD, you are great in Zion; you are high above all peoples; we pray for the nations of the earth, that there may be justice and peace.
Show us your glory, Lord.

O mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity and righteousness; we pray for our nation, and for all who dwell within these borders.
Show us your glory, Lord.

The heavens and the earth proclaim your greatness, O Lord, and fall down before your footstool; we pray for the hungry, the thirsty, the downtrodden, and the fearful. And we pray for those who are sick or in distress of any kind, especially______. Give them your blessing.
Show us your glory, Lord.

We pray for those who celebrate this week, especially___.
Show us your glory, Lord.

You are the God of both the living, and the God of those who have gone before us. We pray for those who have died, that they may for all eternity worship you upon your holy hill.
Show us your glory, Lord.

Officiant O LORD our God, you answered our forebears indeed; you are a God who forgave them, for you are the Holy One. Hear the prayers of your people today, and forgive us our trespasses we as forgive others. Amen.

05
Oct

the things that are God’s – a reflection on Matthew 22:15-22

render

Photo by Rick Morley, using Instagram.

The following is a reflection on Matthew 22:15-22, the Gospel lesson appointed for October 16th, 2011 according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. (Proper 24, Year A) On this site there is also
• a reflection on the Hebrew Bible Lesson for the same day, and
• a version of the Prayers of the People, based on the lessons of the day.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

This phrase has become ubiquitous in our times, and western culture as a whole. It seems, at face value, a support for the separation of “church and state,” and a framework for understanding that we each have civic responsibility and religious responsibility–and that those are separate endeavors. We have duty to the state, and duty to our God.

However, that isn’t even close to what Jesus is talking about here.

First of all, in the ancient world there was no concept of a separation of civic and religious life. There was no way to even express that in language.

To suggest that that’s what is going on here is to read our own cultural norms into the culture of Jesus’ day. And that’s not helpful. At least, not if you’re looking for the truth.Continue Reading..

05
Oct

distinct – a reflection on exodus 33:12-23

Bible in Chapel

The open Bible in the family chapel of the Sugarbush Farm, near Woodstock, Vermont. Photo by Rick Morley.

The following is a reflection on Exodus 33:12-23, the Hebrew Bible lesson appointed for October 16th, 2011 according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. (Proper 24, Year A) On this site there is also
• a reflection on the Gospel Lesson for the same day, and
• a version of the Prayers of the People, based on the lessons of the day.

“In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”

In the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Creation Epic written ca. 1500-1800 BCE, we find a very similar, and very different, story of the creation of the cosmos, and the creation of humanity. An emerging set of gods create order out of an existing structure of divine chaos.

It’s a strange, and yet eerily similar, tale.

Until we get to the creation of mankind in the sixth (of seven) tablets, when humanity is made. Enuma Elish says that humanity was created out of the blood of a rebel god…but it is so clear that humanity is created for no other reason than to provide service to the gods.Continue Reading..

30
Sep

prayers of the people – based on the Canticle of the Sun

The Canticle of the Sun is a prayer/ hymn attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Theologically, it identifies the elements of creation as sisters and brothers to humanity, and calls upon the forces of nature to praise God with us, and us with them. This version of prayers might be most beneficial during a commemoration of St. Francis.

Officiant Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
And, it is to you alone, Most High, that we pray.

Intercessor You are praised, O Lord by our Brother, Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
May light be shed on your Church,
That your faithful people may bear your likeness.
O God, hear us.

You are praised, O Lord, through our Sister, Moon, and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
May the nations of the earth, whom they look down upon each night
Be blessed with your peace.
O God, hear us.

You are praised, O Lord, through our Brothers, Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather;
May you rain down your grace upon our nation, and it’s leaders and people.
O God, hear us.

You are praised, O Lord, through our Sister, Water;
Quench the thirst of the poor, the downtrodden, and those who are ill, or in trouble of any kind (especially…)
O God, hear us.

You are praised, O Lord, through our Brother, Fire,
through whom you brighten the night;
We pray you to brighten your Kingdom, where the souls of the faithful departed rest.
For them, as you, may there be no night.
O God, hear us.

You are praised, O Lord, through our sister, and Mother, Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs;
Give us the will to care for her, as you created her.
O God, hear us.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.
O God, hear us.

Officiant O Lord, we praise and bless you, and we give you thanks,
and with all of creation, we serve you and pray to you with great humility.

27
Sep

impatience – a reflection on Exodus 32:1-14

Ugolino

The statue of Ugolino, by Carpeaux, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Rick Morley.

The following is a reflection on Exodus 32:1-14, the Hebrew Bible lesson appointed for October 9th, 2011 according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. (Proper 23, Year A) On this site there is also
• a reflection on the Gospel Lesson for the same day, and
• a version of the Prayers of the People, based on the Canticle of the Sun.

The root of the problem in Exodus 32 isn’t idolatry.

It’s patience.

From the moment the Israelites left their homes in Egypt and headed down to the sea shore on their way to the wilderness, they were saturated with impatience. First they thought Pharaoh’s army was going to slaughter them all. Then they thought they would starve—and, oh! Remember those cucumbers they had back in Egypt! Then they were thirsty and thought they’d dehydrate. Then they wanted meat, because the miracle bread started to be a little too much.

Then Moses was taking too long up on the mountain talking to God—as the thunder and earthquakes from God’s immanent Presence roared overhead.

“…as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

You gotta love it. “This Moses.”Continue Reading..

27
Sep

an epic party – a reflection on Matthew 22:1-14

Karen's 40th

My wife's 40th surprise birthday party.

The following is a reflection on Matthew 22:1-14, the Gospel lesson appointed for October 9th, 2011 according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. (Proper 23, Year A) On this site there is also
• a reflection on the Hebrew Bible lesson for the same day, and
• a version of the Prayers of the People, based on the Canticle of the Sun.

I don’t like the translation of “banquet” in Matthew 22. Maybe it worked as an acceptable option years back, but I’m not so sure it does today.

When I think of “banquet,” I think of long Formica-topped tables, polyester table cloths, and more forks than I think a man really needs.

When I hear the word “banquet,” I don’t picture an event I’m looking forward to all week. Not something that gets me so excited I have a hard time sleeping at night. No.

I think of something I have to go to. Something that I’m expected to go to. An event I know I’m going to need to wear an uncomfortable suit to.

Those shoes that make my feet hurt.

And, just when things don’t seem like they couldn’t get any worse some DJ is going to expect me to do the chicken dance. Or, heaven-forbid, the Electric Slide.Continue Reading..

22
Sep

prayers of the people – proper 22 year a

The following is a version of the Prayers of the People, based largely on Psalm 19, the psalm appointed for October 2nd, 2011 according to the New Revised Common Lectionary. (Proper 22, Year A) On this site there is also
• a reflection on the Gospel lesson for the same day, and
a reflection on the Epistle lesson for the same day,

Officiant  Let us pray for the church, the world, and for all the intentions of our hearts:

Intercessor Lord Jesus, the heavens declare the glory of God; and we pray that the Church, and all her people and ministers would join the song that always glorifies you.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, the firmament of the earth displays the handiwork of God; we pray for the whole human family across the face of the earth, and for all who live in the midst of disaster, famine, or terror.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, in the deep you have established a pavilion for the sun; as the sun rises this morning on our nation we pray for our leaders, and all the people who live within these borders. Let us be children of the Light.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We also pray, in your name O Lord, for those who are sick (especially…); let them be whole and sound, and assured of your Presence.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray in your name O Lord for those who are poor, those who are hungry, and those who are hurting in any way. Revive their soul, and rejoice their heart.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray O Lord, for those who we love who have died, that under the shadow of your wing, they would endure forever with you.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Officiant   May the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.